Rahul Dev says even 80 films didn't save him, and he had to take up Bigg Boss 10 | Bollywood - Hindustan Times

Rahul Dev says even 80 films didn't save him, and he had to take up Bigg Boss 10: 'Nobody looks at what you've done'

Oct 21, 2023 06:06 AM IST

In an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, Rahul Dev talks about being a single parent, Mugdha Godse, and Bigg Boss 10 after taking a break from acting.

Rahul Dev says he was one of the top-paid contestants in the history of Salman Khan's reality show Bigg Boss when he participated in Bigg Boss 10. However, he has often said that he did the show “despite having worked in 80 films”. Does he regret doing it? In an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, the actor answers the question, talks about his recent projects, and recalls the time he became a very ‘intrusive parent’ after losing his wife to cancer. (Also read: Rahul Dev on his 18-year age difference with girlfriend Mugdha Godse)

Rahul Dev talks about his life and career in an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times.(HT_PRINT)
Rahul Dev talks about his life and career in an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times.(HT_PRINT)

Does Rahul Dev regret doing Bigg Boss?

Rahul had said in an earlier interview that 'even after having done 80 films' he had to do Bigg Boss. He participated in Bigg Boss 10. Asked if he regrets doing the Salman Khan reality show, Rahul said, "See, it's not a regret. The thing is, because when we were trained actors, I mean, I trained myself to be acting in the movies. As parts. I didn't train myself to participate as myself in a show. I mean, the training process was to train yourself, and your faculty in such a way that whatever parts are offered to you are done by you. And, here you are participating like yourself. As a real person. I had no formal training in that, and I don't know whether anybody can get formal training. It's an unknown territory. It's dark. It is a difficult process."

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Rahul Dev on the business of it all

He added, "But there was no work for me when I came back into the business, so there was no choice but to (take up what I was offered). What I've learned is that even a gap of four and a half years is a very long gap. It's a rare blessing, I still am in the business. But along with the blessing, sometimes, there are the peripheries too. And as far as the positive side of things, it eases out my financial situation. So, in hindsight, if I look at the same blessing, then I feel that it eases out my financial situation immediately. In a considerable manner. I mean, you can Google it, and you'll see that I was the highest-paid contestant ever on that show. So, that was a blessing. I didn't know any other job. If I didn't do that, what would I do? So, it was good. That was a learning experience of another kind. So, when I said what I said earlier, it was said in the context that, you know, even 80 films don't save you here. Nobody looks at what you've done in the past because they measure you with what you're doing at the moment. Who are the other people investing in you? It is a fair market, it's a business."

Working in period dramas like The Empire, Mastaney

Most recently, Rahul was seen in the Punjabi hit Mastaney, and the web series The Empire. Asked about the novelty factor of working in period dramas, Rahul said, “I find it very fascinating to work on those because it is like revisiting time. I think as human beings we all have personal fantasies. I remember my history teacher, and how she taught us in a very interesting manner back in school. St Columbus when I studied in Delhi.” He went on to elaborate on how the teacher would travel to European destinations and bring back artefact and pieces for their classes. He added that even his son loves history.

Asked if it is any more difficult to work on, compared to a project based on contemporary times, Rahul said it was the opposite. “I think it becomes much easier. Simply because you already have (a reference point for) the look and feel to it. Especially if it is contemporary history. The periods from 1400s and onwards. You have fair portrayals of how they looked, their weaponry, etc…same goes for Sikh history. Loved working on Wazir Khan (The Empire), and Nader Shah."

Working in Welcome to The Jungle

Talking about working on period films, Rahul said there is so much of research to be done for such films, and it becomes fulfilling process as an artist. He added, “As opposed to doing something like ‘aaj ki do bhaiyo ki kahani (today's stories about two brothers)’, I find working in such films (historical) much more interesting.”

What then, is he doing in a film like Welcome to The Jungle? The actor said, "What do you have to do in such films? You know what is one supposed to do. I am doing exactly that. Even those films involve a very nice process hai, and I will tell you. Please write about it only if you are convinced. So, what is the meaning of Kalakar? What is art? The joy of entertaining people and making them happy. Films are also a kind of escapism for many. People get relief from their mundane lives and the escapism provided by the film offers them joy. If that joy is a fact, then those films are equally important."

Working in entertainers

Insisting that even the entertainer requires a lot of investment on the part of the actors, Rahul stressed the importance of such films for the larger business of filmmaking. "You get that platform (to make experimental cinema) if you also keep featuring in these films that work well for the producers. I do not debate the fact that all kinds of cinema should exist. Cinema, first of all, is made for fun, for entertainment. You can bring in the depth and all that with art but the prime objective is entertainment. For example, Sudha Chandran ji dances and so does Govinda. Who is to say who is better? Perhaps, he entertains me even more. If I have to really genuinely be honest. For me. I enjoy his eyes twinkling and moving along with his body."

“To act like a dumb person, or someone who will go flying when a blow comes his way, that, too, is art. How else will we make superhero movies?”

How Rahul became an ‘intrusive parent’

Asked about his childhood, Rahul said, “My father was an ex-cop. Very accomplished. He was very non-intrusive. He used to give us a lot of space. I was the opposite when I was parenting. Which is not a good thing. Because everyone needs space. But in my case, I was non-intrusive till the time my partner was here. The parent-teacher meeting, I remember, used to be a little difficult time for me. There would be a certain realization at the parent-teacher meeting that, you know, I'm the only odd male here. So, girls used to attend the PTMs while the males would be working somewhere. Not that women don't work, my mother was a working woman. Even with three children. So she had a dual role. I had a working mother. So I'm a bourgeoisie product, you know. (Had a) Working mother and a working father. But my mother was doubling the roles of a housewife and looking after his needs, those of each of the three children. Especially, education. She was very intrusive and very controlling. She is the man of the house, so to say. She wears the pants. I became a similar parent (when time required).”

Challenges of being a single parent

Asked if he felt the challenges thrown in by society as a single parent, he said, “I don't think about that. What the society throws at me, I don't care much for. The most important thing is how you yourself were feeling about it. So, like I said, there used to be a lot of fear at that time. I was not doing movies and it was a conscious decision. I got upset with the business because, you know, it used to take me away from home - I've stayed in the best hotels possible all across the globe. Six passports, fully stamped. But, the downside is, (not being able to spend time with family).”

“Especially when he (son) was growing up….you go to an outdoor, you come back, your child's changed so much. When they're little, a two-month absence means you're looking at another person. So, I used to see them in stages. So, I would miss both of them quite a lot. And you can't ask them to join you in every outdoor because it's not possible there. You can't really have time to give to your family. Many actors do that but I never did.”

‘Models cannot act’

Recalling the time he moved to Mumbai, invested all of his savings to buy a house as a safety net, and wanted to act in films, Rahul said, "At that time, it used to happen that the models, they can't act. They don't know their work. It was believed like that. That effect was not there. But it was believed.

Rahul explains the 12'o'clock "joke"

"The 12 o'clock saying about Sardars. The reality is that it was not really a joke. It was a very serious issue. When the Mughals ruled our country, they would come to the Sardars (working as soldiers under the Mughals) around midnight, and they would just take whoever they took fancy to. It could be your mother, your sister, your wife, your girlfriend, anybody..... They would just take the women folk away. And you would watch on helplessly. The people who intervened at that time were Guru Gobind Singh ji's people, the Sikh people."

Rahul on pressure of marrying Mughda Godse

Asked if he ever felt the pressure of marrying Mugdha Godse from their extended families, Rahul said, “I've told you, I don't care about anyone. Even the families know. What I do care is about one person - what does she feel about it? That's the main thing to consider. Not what the families have to say. We both live together. My mother lives in Delhi. Her parents live in Pune. No one will care practically on a daily basis.”

Rahul's views on marriage

He added, “I mean, I find frankly today and I'm saying, being in a very successful marriage, I'm saying this. When I look all around me, (I think) how weird is this whole structure? If guys are going to leave their homes and go into the women's house, (will they be fine with the arrangement)? You're born with a certain set of parents. Now suddenly, love happened, somebody special came, and you just leave your house and start calling someone else mumma-papa? It is expected of you is that you love them and respect them the same. Is that possible on a human level? It's not. The traditional expectations of marriage are not very real.”

He added that he can say it even after having had a very successful marriage. “It's unfair for a woman. So, I really empathize with them because of this one reason. Think about it. You have chosen a person for your life. You would be expected to respect them and the backgrounds that they come from. Fair enough. But this is hypocrisy. Because you can never do it from your heart. And when you can't do it from your heart, there will be problems.”

“You don't have to call her baby, or him in a certain manner. You don't have to do that. You call her whichever way you want. Mugdha calls me Rahul. I mean, there's a 14-year age gap between us. I'm not expecting that she'll call me Rahulji. It'll be very corny. I'll fall down. I have very strong views about this, because when I see this, the whole unfair thing. I was in a situation where I felt there was a big need for a woman's hand to grace it. Because I realized what her contribution was.”

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    Sweta Kaushal has 13 years of experience covering Bollywood and regional movies, TV shows, national current affairs and social issues.

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